Who doesn’t love a delectable, creamy French pastry? I know I do! And I’ve been craving one. So I came up with this recipe for Low-Carb Mille Feuilles! It uses fat head dough instead of puff pastry. And for the filling, I’ve used whipped sweetened cream. Or you can mix it up by using instead my recipe for crème anglaise. Only 3.8g net carbs per slice, these save you a massive 57g over a high-carb version.
I adooooore a proper French mille feuille. As a big treat, I’ve often had one for a birthday breakfast. So I thought I’d have a crack at making a Low-Carb Mille Feuille, and this is the result.
In French the literal translation of mille feuille is ‘a thousand sheets/leaves’. And in case you’re having trouble getting your head around how to pronounce it, ‘meel-foy-ee’ is the best phonetic spelling I can come up with! (Or you could listen to this audio file!)
According to French gastronomy bible Larousse Gastronomique, a mille feuille is made up of thin layers of puff pastry, separated by layers of cream (which may be flavoured), jam, or some other filling. The top is then covered in icing/confectioners’ sugar, fondant icing/frosting, or royal icing. Mille feuilles are usually small rectangular pastries (although may be made as large gateaux, and can be round).
For my own recipe, I’ve kept things quite simple. For the pastry, I’ve used fat head dough. If you’re on a keto eating regime, you may well be very familiar with fat head dough already. If not, then you’ll find several variations on the Internet. But this is the website of Tom Naughton who developed the original. My recipe here is one I’ve tweaked myself over time, after trying several others.
I don’t believe there is any such thing as a perfect keto replacement for flaky puff pastry. But fat head dough isn’t a bad substitute. It tastes neutral yet a little buttery. And it’s got a consistency firm enough both to be satisfyingly chewy, and to hold the creamy filling without it seeping-in and making it soggy.
And for that filling in my recipe, again I’ve kept it simple by using just whipped cream sweetened with powdered erythritol. But there are so many different takes on mille feuilles, and you could easily use instead my keto crème anglaise which I came up with as part of my massively popular recipe for Low-Carb Summer Berry Crème Anglaise Tarts.
IMHO, this Low-Carb Mille Feuille is really a pretty good imitation of the real thing. And having made a fresh batch to photograph for this blog, I’m enjoying one right now with a cup of coffee while writing up the recipe! It’s certainly taken my French pastry craving away, and kept me on the keto straight and narrow. I do hope that you enjoy them too!
Nutrition: Classic Mille Feuilles vs. Low-Carb Mille Feuilles
My Low-Carb Mille Feuille contains only 3.8g net carbs, saving you over 57g of carbs over a classic version.
If you’re looking to up the ratio of fats in your keto regime, then one of these mille feuille might even make an indulgent, classy, special-occasion alternative to a fat bomb.
|Per mille feuille||Regular Mille Feuille (156g Paul’s Patisserie Mille Feuille Slice)||Low-Carb Mille Feuille|
|Net Carbs (minus polyols, & fibre counted separately)||61.6g||3.8 g|
* Figures calculated using verified nutritional info on MyFitnessPal. Low-Carb Mille Feuille decorated with 85% cocoa chocolate.
Health Impact of the Main Ingredients
In this recipe I’ve used my go-to low-carb natural sugar substitute, erythritol. If you’re not familiar with it, then I wrote a whole article here about erythritol’s nutrition and health impacts, where to buy it, and how to cook with it etc.
If you prefer to use xylitol, then that will work in the recipe just as well. I just find that xylitol has a slightly more cooling effect in the mouth, and it contains some calories, whereas erythritol doesn’t. And you also need to be aware that xylitol is toxic to dogs, whereas erythritol isn’t.
Full fat dairy
Looking at the cheese and cream in this recipe, it’s interesting to read a scientific review from 2014 by the University of Reading – one of the leading universities globally for food science. It argues that only thinking of full-fat dairy products in terms of their saturated fat content is oversimplistic, and that this overlooks some potential health benefits. One benefit of consuming full-fat dairy, for instance, is greater intake of fat-soluble vitamin A, which naturally occurs in dairy products. Vitamin A underpins skin and eye health, and can give your immune system a much-needed boost.
There is also some limited evidence emerging that conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) – a type of fatty acids associated with dairy products – may be protective for heart health.
Products derived from milk are also rich sources of some essential micronutrients such as calcium, potassium and iodine. The University of Reading say that, for a number of reasons, these are more bioavailable from dairy products. That is, they are more likely to be absorbed by the human body from dairy, than from some other foods.
Recipe for Low-Carb Mille Feuilles
Low-Carb, Keto & Vegetarian. Free From Gluten, Sugar & Artificial Sweeteners.
For the Fat Head ‘Pastry’
- 180g/1½ cups grated mozzarella
- 100g/7/8 cup ground almonds/almond flour
- 30g/2 tbsp full-fat cream cheese
- ½ tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 medium egg
- ½ tsp xanthan gum (optional, but improves consistency – worth investing if you’re going to do a lot of low-carb baking)
For the Filling
- 150ml/10 tbsp double/heavy whipping cream
- 25g/1/8 cup powdered erythritol (or xylitol) sugar substitute (If you only have granulated erythritol, you can turn it into powder yourself by grinding it for a few seconds in a coffee grinder).
For the Icing/Frosting & Decoration
- 50g/¼ cup powdered erythritol (or xylitol) sugar substitute
- 1 tbsp water
- 20g/4 tspns very dark chocolate, broken into small pieces (Optional. I prefer 85% cocoa chocolate, but use one according to your preference & daily carb allowance).
- Make the Pastry: Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6.
- Put mozzarella, cream cheese and ground almonds into a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until they have melted into each other. You can also melt the cheeses together by microwaving them for a minute or two if you prefer.
- Add the xanthan gum (if using), white wine vinegar and egg, and mix well until all is combined.
- Put the dough onto the middle of a large rectangle of greaseproof paper/baking parchment on your work surface. Place an equally sized rectangle of paper over the top of the dough and roll it out with a rolling pin until it is around a 1/2 inch thick and as rectangular as possible.
- Carefully peel away the top piece of baking parchment. Lift up the remaining sheet of parchment with the dough on top and place the whole into a baking tray. Cook in the centre of the oven for around 10 minutes, until brown. (You will find that the dough goes browner than one made with wheat flour. That is because of the toasting effect heat has on the almond flour, but it will not impair the flavour in any way).
- Remove from the oven, and leave to cool for a couple of minutes. Then flip it over and peel away the baking parchment. (If you’ve used greaseproof paper, you need to let the pastry cool and rest for at least 10 minutes before attempting this. I find that the cooler the pastry is, the easier it is to peel off greaseproof paper).
- Trim the pastry into a rectangle. (Don’t waste the trimmings. They’re lovely spread with some garlic butter and warmed through in the oven as garlic bread!).
- Cut the pastry rectangle into 12 smaller rectangles of an equal size.
- Fill the Mille Feuilles: Whip together the cream and powdered erythritol until the mixture is stiff (I use the whipping attachment in a food processor, but you can use a hand blender if you prefer).
- Six of your 12 pastry rectangles will be mille feuilles bases, and six will be lids. Spread one-sixth of the cream mixture evenly across the six pastry pieces that will be your bases. The cream should stand about 1 inch tall. Keep the edges of the cream as neat as you can. But don’t obsess about it, as you can neaten up the look of the pastries with a knife, or just a clean finger, once they’re completed.
- Carefully place the six remaining pastry rectangles which are your lids on top of the six bases spread with cream.
- Decorate the Mille Feuilles: Make the glaze for the top of the mille feuilles. Mix together the powdered erythritol and water with a teaspoon in a small bowl until all is dissolved and a thick paste is formed.
- Spread this paste evenly over the top of each mille feuille. You should find it’s quite thick and it sticks well. But it doesn’t matter if a little seeps ever the edges, which will just give your mille feuilles a more rustic look.
- Leave the glaze to set on top of the mille feuilles at cool room temperature, or in the fridge, for around 15 minutes.
- Once the glaze has set, if you are going to decorate with chocolate, then melt the chocolate in a bowl in a microwave (takes around 2 minutes on high). Then, using a teaspoon, drizzle one teaspoon of chocolate at a time quickly across each mille feuille in a zig zag pattern.
- Leave the mille feuilles to set at cool room temperature, or in the fridge, for 10 minutes.
- The mille feuilles can then be served immediately, although I refer to chill them a little first, so that the cream is firm and a little cold. Serve them on their own, or as part of an afternoon tea, perhaps garnished with strawberries or other fruit. And I find the most successful way to eat them is to pick them up with your fingers and put them in your mouth, rather than using a fork and spoon. But it’s entirely up to you!